Poland digs deep to make a case for coal

Acouple of years ago, coal miners in the Silesia region of Poland staged a sit-in on the roof of their mine, protesting against lay-offs and pit closures that had shrunk a once prestigious industry to less than a quarter its old size. But now the three leading coal companies are showing profits, technical schools are training the first apprentice miners in years, and the industry is bullish on the future. That optimism has been boosted by fears over gas supplies, which has made coal appear a more secure source of energy.

"The future looks very good for coal because gas is imported, unfortunately from the east, and the technology of converting coal to electricity is more and more modern," says Andrzej Barczak, a coal industry specialist at the Katowice Economic Academy. However, there are growing worries that the global coal price boom is ending and that Poland has missed a chance to reform and privatise its mines.

After the collapse of communism in 1989, the government, with substantial help from the World Bank, embarked on a programme to cut the size of the mining sector. The number of working pits was slashed from about 80 to about 30 - a restructuring that cost more than 4bn zlotys (E984m).

The international boom in coal prices of the past two years, fuelled in part by demand from China, helped turn the balance sheets of the remaining Polish mines from red to black and halted talks of further cuts. Kompania Weglowa - the largest coal producer in Europe with 17 mines, 70,000 employees and about 55m tonnes of coal production a year - expects a profit of 102m zlotys this year. However, that is down from 283m zlotys in profits a year earlier. Other coal miners have shown similar drops in profit as the world coal price has declined. "Interest in Polish coal is increasing, especially in Europe. France and Germany have easy access to a large source of energy close to their borders," says Zbigniew Madej, spokesman for Kompania Weglowa.

The problem for Polish mines is that they are not just competing against Russian natural gas. There are also low-cost coal producers such as South Africa, Australia and the US. The World Bank feels the most likely long-term future for the Polish industry is as a supplier to local industry. But Poland's coal mines probably still need production trimmed by 10m-15m tonnes, or about 20 per cent of the total.

Source: www.ftd.de

Flights to Poland

Novea - Business in Poland

Poland least prepared for euro among EU newcomers

The European Commission has evaluated Poland as least prepared for the introduction of the euro among new EU member countries. A report published in Brussels states that Poland has not set yet the date for entering the euro zone and experts are not even aware who will be supervising the process of transition to the common currency. Poland has not defined the period of accepted parallel use of the euro and Polish zloty, nor presented a graphic project of the reverse side of the Polish version of the European coins. Slovenia stands the biggest chance of being the first EU newcomer to introduce the euro. It plans the currency transition already in January next year.


Flights to Poland

Novea - Business in Poland


No room for Poland in Baltic North European Gas Pipeline project, Gazprom Deputy CEO Medvedev

"What concerns participation in the North European Gas Pipeline, the participants of the project have already been gathered, and not only Polish participants will not be able to take part in the project, but also other states and companies which were ready to join it,” Medvedev said in response to questions from a Polish radio RMF FM journalist.

“This is because they were unable to present conditions offered by other participants," Medvedev added. In March Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller said that countries bordering the Baltic Sea - through which the North European Gas Pipeline will pass - are welcome to submit proposals to participate in the construuction of the pipeline and branch pipelines.

The NEGP will connect the Baltic coast of Russia near Vyborg with the Baltic coast of Germany at Greifswald. The operator for the construction and use of the marine part of the pipeline will be North European Gas Pipeline Company, in which Gazprom will have a 51% stake, and its German partners - BASF and E.ON - will each have a 24.5% stake.

Gazprom plans to finish construction of the first branch of the NEGP by 2010 and to launch both branches, with capacity of 55 billion cubic meters, in 2013. The first branch is expected to reach its projected production capacity of 30 bcm per year by 2012.

Poland is against the construction of the NEGP between Russia and Germany, which Poland considers a threat to energy security for both Poland and the entire CEE.

Poland and the Baltic states have also pointed out that the NEGP will offer the opportunity for Russia to reroute gas intended for Western Europe around Poland, Belarus and Ukraine.

This could be a danger for Poland and the Baltic states if another gas dispute should erupt similar to the New Year's Eve Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute, which resulted in Gazprom cutting off gas to Ukraine, as well as in gas reductions to a number of other EU countries, including Poland.

Flights to Poland

Novea - Business in Poland

First American Expands in Poland

First American launched its First Title Poland unit to offer title insurance solutions to lenders, investors and developers.

The company said its insurance policies have been tailored to address title issues unique to Poland, and will help simplify, quicken and standardize real estate transactions throughout the country.

"The availability of title insurance will foster new and significant real estate activity in Poland by developers, purchasers and lenders," the company said. "Given our tract-record of successfully introducing title insurance in numerous countries including Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and most recently Turkey, we have every expectation that we can deliver the benefits of this essential form of property protection to Poland's real estate community."


Flights to Poland

Novea - Business in Poland


Poland Provides the Best Opportunity for Fuel Card Market Penetration

As many of Europe's commercial fuel card markets reach saturation point there is a need to identify untapped investment potential. This briefly highlights the markets and segments offering the greatest opportunity for fuel card business growth and examines customer attitudes towards card usage, the key competitive obstacles and provides suggestions on how they can be overcome.

This report gives a comprehensive overview of fuel card volume sales, market value, network penetration and brand awareness across 18 European countries, while giving an understanding of fleet manager attitudes towards fuel cards, contact channels and providers customer service performance.

It also makes a quantitative comparison of the competitive dynamics that currently drive Europe's five key untapped fuel card markets and carries out an in-depth assessment of the obstacles to successful entry that exist in the main fuel card markets and proposes practical suggestions on how to surpass them.

The main highlights of this title are:

-- Europe's fuel card market has genuine untapped potential. The regional fuel card market was worth EUR 56 billion in 2004, 54% of which was concentrated in countries where commercial oil card volumes accounted for less than a fifth of national fuel sales.

-- Former state incumbents provide a notable barrier to new entrants. With a 40% acceptance rate across all Spain's petrol stations, Repsols card network coverage is over two times larger than nearest rival Cepsa. Repsol also has the lions share of the Spanish oil card market with a 60% volume share.

-- Poland provides the best opportunity for fuel card market penetration. Uncertainty surrounding the quality of PKN Orlens fuel card customer service provides an opportunity for new entrants and existing providers to challenge its dominance. Some 36% Polish managers could not name the best card provider in their market.

This title allows you to evaluate Europe's commercial fuel cards markets by volume and sales value whilst identifying those with the greatest untapped potential. It also enables you to identify potential barriers to operating successfully in key fuel cards markets and establish appropriate strategies to overcome them, whilst gaining insight into the European competitive landscape including sector concentration and average network coverage of the major oil card providers.

Other points mentioned throughout this report are:

-- Poland's fuel card market has the greatest untapped potential, but time is of the essence

-- Quality customer service is the key to unlocking Poland's potential

-- Uncertainty over the merits of PKNs fuel card provision provides an opportunity

-- Successful entry into Poland could be achieved via telecoms channels

-- The Repsol brand represents a formidable barrier to entry into Iberia

-- Any attempt to compete with Repsol in Iberia must be on the basis of customer service

-- Successful entry into Spain and Portugal would require people on the ground

-- The majority of Iberian fleet managers have not been approached by a fuel card provider

-- Supermarket strength undermines the potential to develop a fleet fuel card proposition in France

-- Untapped potential in Italy's fuel market is limited by a wider averseness to commercial card use

-- An all round package is key to being a successful European fuel card provider

-- Shell and BP provide a large obstacle to any provider looking to enter Europe's fuel card market

-- A significant proportion of non-fuel card users perceive their company to be too small to benefit from using a provider

-- Europes EUR 56 billion fuel card market has untapped potential

For more information visit (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c38351)


Flights to Poland

Novea - Business in Poland

40 Korean veterinary inspectors visit Poland in July

“The agenda of the mission looks enigmatic. We don’t know if the Koreans will want to visit any plants”, Cezary Bogusz, the deputy veterinary inspector said.

In the itinerary sent to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Koreans said they want to verify three issues: how veterinary inspections are organized, how animal diseases are treated and what are the procedures in case of diseases.

“Although our guests do not want to talk about the poultry and fighting bird flue, we will try to convey them as much data as possible. That’s what we have done so far via our trade department in Seul and we see positive results. We moved by several places in the ranking of countries waiting for the Korean poultry market to open”, Cezary Bogusz said.

Today, 13 Polish meat producers have the licenses to export to Korea. They were visited by Korean inspectors last year.


Flights to Poland

Novea - Business in Poland

Paul Masselink, Schwarzkopf Professional Poland

Paul Masselink has become a business unit manager at Schwarzkopf Professional Poland, replacing Holger Loof.

Masselink has been working for Henkel's Schwarzkopf Professional since1998. He started his career as a sales director in Schwarzkopf Professional Benelux. In the last two years as Schwarzkopf Professional country manager he was responsible for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Masselink is Dutch, married and has two daughters. His hobbies are golf and traveling.

Source:Warsaw Business Journal

Flights to Poland

Novea - Business in Poland

Poland eyes Bollywood for promotion

Bollywood seems to be the golden goose for any new national tourist board entering the Indian market and the latest one to do so is Poland. The Polish Tourist Organisation (PTO) is clear on its agenda - to target the film fraternity and intends to organise FAM tours to Poland for Bollywood producers as well as host an evening for them in Mumbai to present it as one of the best countries in Central Europe to make movies in terms of locations, facilities, staff, etc. They also plan to host the Indian travel trade and media to promote the destination.

Speaking about the importance of the Indian market, Emilia Engler of the Foreign Markets Department, PTO said, "Japan and China are still top priority Asian markets for us but India is a new challenge for us. It has great potential for outbound tourism development and a reason why we want to concentrate our promotional efforts to attract more Indians. We are aware that, right now, Poland is largely an unknown destination in India."

At present, it is not planning to set up office in India but Engler added that PTO would be constantly making its presence felt by participating in trade shows and exhibitions. "One of our aims is to establish commercial relations between Polish tour operators and the Indian travel industry. Therefore, Polish companies are directly in touch with Indian travel agents and tour operators like Armaan Tour & Travels, Travelite and Minar Travels," she added.


Flights to Poland

Novea - Business in Poland

Magnet Entertainment

Magnet Entertainment has launched what it says is the first tailored communications package for the Polish community in Ireland. The new service will offer the 160,000-strong Polish community in Ireland Polish television, as well as cheap calls to Poland and a broadband connection. Commenting on the launch of the package, Charlie Ardagh, Marketing Director, Magnet Entertainment, said the firm has negotiated a deal with TWP for three Polish Channels (TV Polonia, TVP Kultura, TVP3). "Because of our capability to deliver TV, broadband and telephone services straight to the home through a single connection, we are also able to offer bundles of telephone minutes to Poland and a super fast broadband connection to this community," said Ardagh.

Flights to Poland

Novea - Business in Poland